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Mitochondria as a target and central hub of energy division during cold stress in insects
Frontiers in Zoology  (IF3.172),  Pub Date : 2022-01-06, DOI: 10.1186/s12983-021-00448-3
Lubawy, Jan, Chowański, Szymon, Adamski, Zbigniew, Słocińska, Małgorzata

Temperature stress is one of the crucial factors determining geographical distribution of insect species. Most of them are active in moderate temperatures, however some are capable of surviving in extremely high as well as low temperatures, including freezing. The tolerance of cold stress is a result of various adaptation strategies, among others the mitochondria are an important player. They supply cells with the most prominent energy carrier—ATP, needed for their life processes, but also take part in many other processes like growth, aging, protection against stress injuries or cell death. Under cold stress, the mitochondria activity changes in various manner, partially to minimize the damages caused by the cold stress, partially because of the decline in mitochondrial homeostasis by chill injuries. In the response to low temperature, modifications in mitochondrial gene expression, mtDNA amount or phosphorylation efficiency can be observed. So far study also showed an increase or decrease in mitochondria number, their shape and mitochondrial membrane permeability. Some of the changes are a trigger for apoptosis induced via mitochondrial pathway, that protects the whole organism against chill injuries occurring on the cellular level. In many cases, the observed modifications are not unequivocal and depend strongly on many factors including cold acclimation, duration and severity of cold stress or environmental conditions. In the presented article, we summarize the current knowledge about insect response to cold stress focusing on the role of mitochondria in that process considering differences in results obtained in different experimental conditions, as well as depending on insect species. These differentiated observations clearly indicate that it is still much to explore.